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Share a Story Month: May 1st: "A New Day"

May 01, 2022 5 Comments

Share a Story Month: May 1st: "A New Day"

a new day, a watercolour painting by artist helen trevisiol duff, commissioned by ealing samaraitans on their 50th anniversary

"A New Day" by Helen Trevisiol Duff

Helen shares her story of how the painting above came about.

“For their 50th year, the Ealing branch of Samaritans commissioned me to paint an artwork to be sent online to all volunteers and to be auctioned to raise money for the charity. I was honoured to take on the commission as I had been a volunteer at the Ealing branch for many years.

I reflected on my many nights spent on the phones, being there for someone who is feeling very emotional or suicidal, and needs someone to listen with no judgement or pressure. Every 10 seconds, Samaritans responds to a call for help.

I wanted to create an image which would have meaning for many volunteers and I came up with the idea of a still life with strong symbolism in the objects I included.

  • Ealing Samaritans began in a church, taking calls on an old telephone like this one. The telephone symbolises communication.
  • Chad Varah founded Samaritans in 1953, and the original phone number used was MANsion house 9000.
  • I chose daffodils to symbolise new beginnings and the colour yellow is uplifting.
  • The butterfly has become a metaphor for transformation and hope.
  • The crane on the vase symbolises longevity.
  • I wanted to portray shadow and light and the dawn of a new day. (Often on a night shift the sun rise is a welcome sight as it symbolises hope and rejuvenation.) I’m sure many volunteers will identify with that.

I won’t be charging for this commission as Samaritans is a charity which means so much to me. The incredible volunteers in more than 200 branches across the UK and Ireland make such a difference for so many callers.

Becoming a Samaritan made a huge impact on my life. I learnt so much, and felt humbled and grateful to be able to be there to listen when someone needed to talk.”

 This is the letter sent by Ealing Samaritans to their volunteers to accompany the online card:

 “With the help of this specially commissioned art piece, by ex-volunteer Helen Trevisiol  Duff, we'd like to say a huge thank you for supporting us all these years.

In 1972, in the basement of a condemned church in Windsor Road, the founding members of Ealing Samaritans took their first phone calls from people needing emotional support, on a telephone much like the one Helen has painted.

Since 1972, 2,242 volunteers from Ealing, Hammersmith & Hounslow have been trained to handle an estimate of 1 million phone calls.

The branch today is a collective effort of some 150 unpaid volunteers from all walks of life, who for 365 days of the year give emotional support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair.

Your donation has made these 50 years possible, and with your support we will continue to be there round the clock, every single day of the year for anyone who needs someone to listen.”

 

 




5 Responses

Amanda Gosse
Amanda Gosse

May 12, 2022

Another beautiful artwork by Helen and a fascinating story behind the painting. Thank you for sharing this!

Teresa Morrish-Griffin
Teresa Morrish-Griffin

May 05, 2022

A thoughtful and inspired piece of art Helen. What a beautiful gift to share with others and for such a life changing cause. ❤️

Sarita keeler
Sarita keeler

May 05, 2022

What a calming and meaningful painting. So beautiful.

Nicolette Carter
Nicolette Carter

May 05, 2022

What a beautiful painting and a very poignant and wonderful story.

Stella Tooth
Stella Tooth

May 01, 2022

What a beautifully atmospheric artwork Helen. A wonderful auction gift. Your work, and the work of so many other volunteers, has, literally, saved lives.

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